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'A Powerful, Deeply Moving Movie'



I'd like to provide a different perspective on From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock, the Kevin McKiernan film that was reviewed in last week's Journal (Through the Eyes of Native Activists, Oct. 10).

This is a powerful, deeply moving movie. It links together stories of Indian suppression by the federal government that go back to the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, when over 250 Lakota Indians were killed by the United States Army, on to the Indian occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, and concludes with the Standing Rock protest of 2016 that saw Indian activists trying to protect their traditional lands from the damaging effects of an ill-conceived oil pipeline.

McKiernan goes far beyond these historical events by weaving into his account two compelling personal stories. First, we learn that McKiernan, as a freshly minted young reporter, managed to penetrate the government encirclement of Wounded Knee and record, from inside the siege lines, the Indians' defense of their homeland. Then, 43 years later, McKiernan reported on the government's similarly militant response to the Standing Rock protest.

Secondly, we are told the story of a local Yurok, Willard Carlson, who traveled east in both 1973 and 2016 to support his fellow Indians. Further, we learn that Carlson has created, at Ah Pah on the Klamath, a traditional Yurok village site that is used to perpetuate and celebrate the tribe's vibrant culture.

The high point in the movie for me is when Willard revisits the graves of Wounded Knee victims. He is staring at a headstone when a local Indian boy, maybe 12 years old, comes up next to him. Willard tells the boy that he was at Wounded Knee in 1973. Without at word, the boy walks over and shakes his hand.

A new generation is ready to continue.

Jerry Rohde, Eureka

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